Psalm 1 and Psalm 2 are the swinging doors that invite and usher us into all the psalms. These two short songs signal what the psalms (and the Bible and life and ministry) are all about.
Psalm 1 and Psalm 2 open our eyes to see reality:
- There are two kinds of people in the world: the righteous and the wicked.
- Definitions: The righteous have the word of the LORD inside of them and on their lips; the wicked speak words of dissatisfaction and rebellion against the LORD and against his Son.
- God’s written word makes the righteous, righteous. How can that be? Because the written word connects people to the living and life-giving Word, the eternal Son of God.
As you listen to this beautiful arrangement of Psalm 2, notice the three parts of the psalm. The fourth part of the psalm, not included in this arrangement, is strikingly different.
There are four parts to this Psalm, and the first three parts establish a pattern: A person or people are introduced, and then they speak.
In the first part (vv. 1-3) the kings and rulers of the earth are introduced. They speak against the LORD and against his anointed: “Let us break their chains and throw off their shackles.”
In the second part (vv. 4-6), the God they are speaking against is introduced. He is in heaven. He scoffs at them. He rebukes them. He terrifies them. This is what he says: “I have installed my king on Zion, my holy mountain.”
In the third part (vv. 7-9), that king introduces himself. It is his turn to speak, but he does not speak his own words. He says, “I will proclaim the LORD’s decree.” He quotes his Father’s words to him, “You are my son; today I have become your father…I will make the nations your inheritance.”
The fourth part of Psalm 2 (vv. 10-11) brings back the people we heard about in the first part. But the pattern is broken. They don’t get to speak this time. They are spoken to: “Be warned…Serve the LORD….Kiss the son, or he will be angry and your way will lead to your destruction….” Psalm 1 ended that way too: “But the way of the wicked will perish.”
These words of warning flow from God’s loving heart. God does not want anyone to perish. He does not want fallen and corrupt mankind to die in the wickedness that they perceive to be freedom and pleasure. God wants sinners to cross over from wickedness to righteousness, from death to life.
That can only happen when people come to know and believe in the LORD’s anointed, God’s Son, David’s Son, the Great King.
In the next weeks and months we will marvel as the kings and rulers of the earth—and so many citizens—speak against God’s Son, reject him, and crucify him. But we marvel even more at the words and actions of the Son. He speaks his Father’s words. He does his Father’s will. He does everything needed—he even drinks the bitter cup of hell—that we might become children of his Father and citizens of heaven forever. What patience and what grace!
“Blessed are all who take refuge in him” (v 12).